Knee Exercises to Relieve Pressure

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the catchall name given to symptoms of pain and pressure in the knee. This common knee problem likely is the result of the way your patella moves on the groove of the thighbone. This pain or pressure can get worse with activity or extended periods of sitting. Exercises designed to combat this problem help strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the knee and alleviate pressure in the joint.

A physical therapist helps a woman stretch her legs Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Straight Leg Lift

The straight leg lift is a basic isometric exercise that will help to strengthen the quadriceps muscle. Sit down on the ground with both knees flat on the floor and raise your upper body by supporting yourself with your elbows. Bend your left leg and place the sole of your foot flat on the floor. Tighten your right quadriceps muscle and raise leg 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Hold your leg for 10 seconds and slowly lower your leg to the ground. Rest for a few seconds and repeat five to 10 times. Repeat the same exercise with your left leg as well.

Iliotibial Band and Buttock Stretch

The iliotibial band is a thick tendon that runs down the side of the femur and helps to support the knee. Strengthening this tendon will help to stabilize the joint and may help to reduce discomfort in the knee. Sit with both legs flat on the floor and cross the right leg over the left leg. Place the sole of the right foot flat on the floor to create a triangle. Twist your upper body to the right side and place your left upper arm on the right thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat up to five times. Perform the stretch on the left side as well.

Static Hamstring Contraction

The hamstring muscle plays an active role in helping to support the knee joint, and a muscular imbalance between the hamstring and quadriceps muscles can result in pressure in the knee. Sit up straight in a chair and place your left foot flat on the floor. Place your right heel on the floor 6 inches ahead of the left foot. Slowly dig your right heel into the floor until you feel the hamstring muscle tighten. Hold this stretch for five seconds and repeat up to 10 times with the right heel and then perform the static hamstring contraction with your left heel.

Sitting Knee Extension Vs. Resistance Band

Adding light resistance to your knee exercises will help to further relieve the pressure associated with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Sit in a chair and tie a length of resistance band to the back left leg of the chair and around your left ankle. Start with your left foot flat on the floor and slowly extend your left leg upward while tightening your quadriceps muscle. Hold for five seconds and slowly lower back to the floor. Rest and then repeat up to 10 times. Tie the band to the right chair leg and your right ankle and repeat the sitting knee extensions up to 10 times.

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